Also selected was Vanderbilt University track & field athlete Erika Schneble. The two were chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities. Both will receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion.
“The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award is the highest honor a student-athlete can receive in the Southeastern Conference,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “Emeel and Erika have displayed dedication and commitment to success in all phases of their lives that have made them excellent selections for the McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award. The SEC and AT&T are extremely proud to honor these two student-athletes for their accomplishments.”
Emeel Salem, an Alabama senior from Birmingham, has earned a 3.85 grade point average, with a double major in Marketing and Spanish. He is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (2006-07 Spring Honor Roll announced later in spring) and a six-time member of the Dean’s and President’s List.
Salem received the 2007 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which honors a male and female student of the graduating class and is considered the highest honor the University of Alabama bestows. It recognizes excellence of character and service to humanity and the practice application of noble ideals.
Salem was named a pre-season All-America outfielder by College Baseball Foundation, Rivals.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2007. He was a semifinalist for the 2006 Brooks Wallace Award and a first-team All-American by the College Baseball Foundation.
Salem was also the 2006 SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and member of the 2006 SEC Good Works Team from community service. He was also a First-Team Academic All-American by CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine.
He was the only unanimous selection to the 2006 Coaches All-SEC Team and a made the 2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional All-Tournament Team.
Schneble, a senior from Hendersonville, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 2006 in Neuroscience and Art History, graduating Magna cum Laude. She is currently working on a Master’s of Arts degree in Medicine, Health and Society and has a 3.9 grade point average.
She is a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (2006-07 SEC Honor Roll announced later in spring). She earned CoSIDA Academic All-America District IV honors in 2004. She was named a Vanderbilt University College of Arts & Sciences Scholar in 2002 and has been on the Dean’s List each semester. She was also named as one of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Community of Scholars, a research community participating in scientific research.
A four-year letterwinner at Vanderbilt, she won the SEC championship in the 5,000 meter run in 2004 outdoors and was the runner-up in 2006 outdoors and 2004 indoors. Schneble was an All-America in 2004, finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships in the 5,000 meter run. She was also All-SEC in cross country in 2003 and is the school’s record holder in the 5,000 meter run.
The McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award is being released to coincide with National Student-Athlete Day, which was created in 1987 by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and presented by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
National Student-Athlete Day is held each April 6 to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. It is also a time to recognize those parents, teachers, coaches and school systems which make it possible for young people to find the balance between academics and athletics.
“This is the 20th anniversary of National Student-Athlete Day. It has been two decades of honoring America’s amazing student-athletes,” said Richard Lapchick, Director of the NCAS and Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida. “Of all the ways we have tried to do this, I believe SEC’s McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Program and scholarships may be the best model for all others. I hope I get the chance to meet this year’s winner because I am confident the winner will be a great example of a real scholar-citizen-athlete. I want to personally thank the winner for helping to make this a better world.”
The 11 other male recipients are: Adam Perkins, Track & Field/Cross Country, Arkansas; Steven Segerlin, Swimming & Diving, Auburn; Lee Humphrey, Basketball, Florida; Brandon Todd, Golf, Georgia; Nathan Li, Soccer, Kentucky; Andrew Keane, Diving, LSU; Todd Abernethy, Basketball, Ole Miss; Keith Andrews, Football, Mississippi State; Ryan Leeton, Soccer, South Carolina; Jeff Day, Track & Field, Tennessee; Jordan Magarik, Tennis, Vanderbilt.
The 11 other female recipients are: Aymara Albury, Track & Field, Alabama; Sarah Pfeifer, Basketball, Arkansas; Natalie Burton, Equestrian, Auburn; Kelli Eisenbrown, Soccer, Florida; Kellie Middleton, Softball, Georgia; Krystle Cook, Gymnast, Kentucky; Hali Saucier, Diving, LSU; Ashley Ferree, Soccer, Ole Miss; Michelle Kinney, Softball, Mississippi State; McKenna Hughes, Softball, South Carolina; Katie Flaute, Track & Field, Tennessee.
The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in 1986. The honor was renamed the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year in May 1990 to honor the former commissioner who served the conference from 1972-86.
Past recipients include: 2006 – Rudy Niswanger, LSU (football) and Sarah Lowe, Florida (basketball); 2005 – Rob Robertson, Ole Miss (football) and Lauryn McCalley, Tennessee (diving); 2004 – Caesar Garcia, Auburn (swimming & diving) and Lauren Imwalle, Alabama (soccer); 2003 - Matt Bonner, Florida (basketball) and Kristin Sterner, Alabama (gymnastics); 2002 - Trey Dyson, South Carolina (baseball) and Tiffany Woolley, Arkansas (softball); 2001 - Scott Westerfield, Mississippi State (football) and Kim Black, Georgia (swimming); 2000 - Joey Pitts, Georgia (tennis) and Lisette Lee, LSU (golf); 1999 - Jeff Zurcher, Kentucky (football) and Jessica Field, Arkansas (volleyball); 1998 - Jeremy Jackson, Mississippi State (baseball) and Shani Abshier, South Carolina (volleyball); 1997 - Andrew DeVooght, Georgia (swimming) and Meredith Willard, Alabama (gymnastics); 1996 - Martin Nyberg, LSU (swimming) and Michelle Palmisano, Vanderbilt (basketball); 1995 - Michael Blanchard, LSU (football) and April Ecke, Mississippi State (cross country); 1994 - Peter Duitsman, South Carolina (soccer) and Tammy Newlon, Mississippi State (basketball); 1993 - Lang Wiseman, Tennessee (basketball) and Aimee York, Mississippi State (volleyball); 1992 - Jeff Laubenthal, Alabama (baseball) and Jenifer Kleyn, Auburn (volleyball); 1991 - Al Parker, Georgia (tennis) and Patty Wiegand, Tennessee (track and cross country); 1990 - Burke Masters, Mississippi State (baseball) and Janice Kerr, Florida (gymnastics); 1989 - Mikael Olander, LSU (track) and Deanne Burnett, Georgia (swimming); 1988 - Danny Hoskins, Ole Miss (football) and Linda Leith, Georgia (swimming); 1987 - Jeff Noblin, Ole Miss (football) and Julie Estin, Alabama (gymnastics); 1986 - John Young, Tennessee (track) and Virginia Diederich, Georgia (swimming).